Reading the news of Hassan Hassan’s murder, the Palestinian actor and comedian, in Syria’s Yarmouk refugee camp, was like a bombshell. Hassan and his wife were arrested by Al-Assad forces three months ago; his wife and son were released two days later. However, he was detained until his family was informed to issue a death certificate for Hassan and dated the 15th of October.
The tragic story of Hassan, the Palestinian youth, depicts the distressed situation of the Palestinians caused by the so called Arab Spring.
Since the first sparks of the Arab Spring two years ago, it has failed to show any features of a real revolution. There have been many remarkable changes in regimes and it was a historical moment that brought the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) into power in most of the Arab Spring countries. But, to take Egypt as an example the MB government was ousted, and the military took over the rule again. The Arab Spring countries always chanted the word “Democracy”, however, two years later the Palestinians seem to be holding the accountability of the Arab Spring’s failure. In Syria and Egypt, the Palestinian are the ones who pay the price of others’ mistakes. It is good that Palestine is not located next to Tunisia and Yemen, otherwise the Palestinians would be obliged to pay the double price of the Arab Spring. The question that should be raised is: What did the Arab Spring bring to the Palestinian cause? The argumentative answer is that, it only brought more malaise, a more tightened blockade, severe poverty, and more hatred towards the Palestinians.
The Arab Spring has been counterproductive towards the Palestinian cause. Since the Arabs are engaged by their uprisings, the Palestinians are alone in their struggle against the Israeli occupation. The plans for judaising Jerusalem are expanding and are already being implemented on the ground. The Palestinian Authority is under pressure imposed by the Americans and the European Union to accept an agreement that is not in accordance with the minimal demands of the Palestinian people. Many Leaders in Fatah and Hamas agree that the Arab Spring negatively affected the Palestinians. Mahmoud Zahar, a top leader in Hamas, was quoted as saying that Arab Spring deviated the Arab world’s attention away from Palestine as being the core cause in the Middle East. In addition, according to a recent opinion poll among Palestinian youths completed by MIFTAH center in the Palestinian territories, 55% of youths in the West Bank and 60% of youths in the Gaza Strip believe that the Arab Spring and the regional changes, are negatively impacting Palestine.
The Palestinian division was deepened and been neglected by Egypt since Hosni Mubarak, former Egyptian President, was ousted. Moreover, after Mohamed Morsi was elected, Hamas refused all efforts of ending the Palestinian rift. Hamas’s excuses were childish and superficial pretexts to escape from any national unity agreement, reflecting the immaturity of Hamas political elites. Hamas has been an offshoot for MB and a proxy for Iran, therefore, the existence of MB in power gave more strength to Hamas. However, after the 30th of June, the tension with Egyptian military has worsened and tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip were mostly destroyed. The Egyptian military is sending a political message to the Hamas leadership to not intervene in Egyptian internal affairs regarding the MB.
At the present time, an ominous air is threatening the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, the Palestinian refugee camps in Syria and Lebanon, and Palestinians living and studying in Egypt. According to Palestinian groups in Syria, as of the end of 2013 more than 1,800 Palestinians were killed, hundreds of thousands were forced to leave the refugee camps, and hundreds drowned in the Mediterranean sea. The refugee camps are not livable anymore, completely destroyed and more likely to be ghost cities.
As the gap between the population and the ruling juntas decreased, the malaise of the Palestinians, especially in the Gaza Strip and Syria, is dramatically growing. Official and leaked news revealed the brutal and inhuman treatment of the Palestinians in Cairo Airport and the Rafah crossing. Gazans and Syrians are not allowed to enter Egypt, though Egypt is the only access and exit point to the world for the Gazans, Egyptian government continue to use deportation policies, in the locked rooms, where living conditions are unbearable and dehumanizing.
This is a striking reminder for the prices that the Palestinian had to pay in the second Gulf war when Yasser Arafat allied with Saddam Hussain.
Thus, the next phase will carry more losses for the Palestinians rather than gains. Pessimism takes over the scene when correlating the Arab Spring with the Palestinian question. The pro-Palestinian rhetoric is fading. And again, What did the Arab Spring bring to Palestinian? Nothing, but more pain, suffering and diaspora.